Thursday, November 19, 2009

' I can(t) cook' or, 'The making of a Gobhi Paratha'

It was a week since my wedding, My husband had asked me to prepare dinner for the family. It would be the first time I was cooking for my new family. Eager to impress, I racked my brain for a dish that would be special but at the same time something that I had some experience in making. "Okay, I'll make gobhi paratha" I decided. I had made it once or twice before under the supervison of my elder sister and had a pretty good idea of how it was made....
And now starts the very worst adventure  of my journey through the culinary world
I gathered flour, cauliflower, chillies, Ginger, salt oil....chopped the veggies, salted them, set them aside and mixed the dough. Rolled it out and tried to stuff the veg mixture in the rolled out dough. The mixture just kept seeping out and the dough kept falling apart. I kept adding flour but the whole thing kept getting very soggy. I kept on adding flour in desperate hope of salvaging the wreck. A small sandpit of flour was forming around me. I'm sure kids could have played with shovels and a pail in there. I was in a state of panic, I so badly wanted to impress, and here I was just  making this huge mess. I had flour on my person, flour on the counter, flour on the floor. I called my sister and bawled to her. She told me stuffing the paratha was a bad idea I should have mixed up the veggies in the flour and not added any water to the dough. Moisture from the veggies is enough for binding the dough she said, anymore will make it soggy. To make a long story short I mixed up the veg mix with the dough, emptied my in law's monthly ration of flour into the mix and rolled out the parathas and heaved a sigh of relief when the last one was done. To be absolutely honest they were absolutely inedible. I had put too little salt and the parathas were too tough and hard to chew from all the extra flour I added. I was never more mortified than  when I sat down to dinner and saw my inlaws bravely struggle through my parathas.  Gosh I stil have nightmares about that day.
Now it's been more than two years into my marriage. I have learnt a goodish bit since then from my inlaws, my mom, my sisters, my friends, my husband and all those wonderful foodbloggers out there. Some of the blogs are really wonderful in the way they give little details that recipe sites miss out and which make cooking error free for blundering cooks like me. Two bloggers who I absolutely depend on are Nupur of 'one hot stove ' and sailu of Sailusfood. a big thankyou to you if you ever read this post
In passing I would like to mention that I'm by no means an expert cook, but every once in a while i do manage to dish up stuff that's got a few 'yums' from the people around me and that's what I'll be posting here hopefully in the days to come.
Now I'm happy to say I do manage to dish up parathas that, even my best friend and greatest critic, my husband, admits is pretty good
So here is a recipe for Gobhi Paratha made the right way passed on to me by my eldest sis

2 cups grated cauliflower
2 cups wholewheat flour
3-4 green chillies (minced or chopped very fine)
1/2 inch piece of Ginger grated
1 tsp cumin seeds or jeera
1/2 tsp caraway seeds or ajwain
Salt to taste
Oil or ghee to smear on parathas

Mix the flour with the grated cauliflower. Add chillies, Ginger, salt, jeeera and ajwain. Mix the whole thing up into as firm a dough as possible. Don't worry if the mixture is not binding too well, and definitely don't add any water. ( this is from the heart and from experience) not at this stage anyway. 
Cover the dough and set it aside for 15-20 min. Knead the dough again well. By now moisture from the cauliflower would have seeped out and you should be able to get a dough of good consistency. In case the dough is still falling apart, (that happens sometimes when the cauliflower is sitting too long in the refrigarator) keep adding tiny bits of water until you get a firm dough. Keep kneading your dough for a few more minutes to release the gluten content for softer parathas
Flour your rolling board and pin. Pinch out lemon size balls of the dough and roll them out about 1/10th of an inch thick. You could add flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the board or pin, but the trick of great parathas is getting the dough of the right consistency so that minimum of flour is used in rolling them out. Finally preheat a griddle and bake the parathas on slow flame until brown flecks appear on top. Turnover and bake on the other side. Smear some ghee or oil on both sides and flip on the hot pan. Enjoy with some plain yoghurt and pickle   

2 comments:

  1. very useful read. I would love to follow you on twitter.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anon: Thanks. I do have a Twitter account but I haven't got round to using it

    ReplyDelete

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